The following is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times, which is the same one in a previous question:

No poet of our day has such a well-earned reputation for difficulty as the Englishman Geoffrey Hill, and there are few whose moral vision is so imperiously unsparing. Of late, however, the almost belligerent demands of Hill's severe and densely forbidding poetry have taken an improbable turn: part of what's become daunting about his work is simply keeping up with it all.

How can a demand be belligerent? Is it a metaphor? Does "the almost belligerent demands of Hill's ... poetry" imply that the readers like his poetry very much as if they will fight each other to buy it?

  • 1
    I suggest that if OP is unable to follow such language, he should be reading simpler texts. Are we next going to be asked to interpret densely forbidding, or explain how Hill's poetry can be daunting? Too localised. Mar 20 '12 at 15:36
  • No, we are not.
    – Jack
    Mar 20 '12 at 17:36
  • On the other hand, I see this as an excellent question for writersSE. Needs to be migrated.
    – Kris
    Aug 18 '12 at 11:12

Belligerent : inclined to or exhibiting assertiveness, hostility, or combativeness

The author is saying that Hill makes demands of his readers in an almost belligerent way i.e., Hill appears to be inclined to actively try to be make his poetry dense and forbidding as if daring readers to try to read it. And it sounds like recently he's been so prolific that just trying to read everything he has put out is a daunting task in its own right nevermind the 'dense and forbidding' nature of the material itself.

  • Thanks. I think the problem is that I didn't understand the preposition "of". Now I see.
    – Jack
    Mar 20 '12 at 17:39

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